Can Religion Give You PTSD?

I spoke to more than a dozen former evangelicals for this story, each of them sharing unique stories of abuse and disillusionment with their church. A few asked that I keep their names confidential because they feared retaliation from family members (some of whom are involved in pro-Trump militia movements). But their stories shared one factor: despite no longer believing in hell, or purity culture, or the imminent rapture, they all struggled to overcome the toll those ideologies had taken on their minds and bodies. As evangelicals, the people I spoke to had been raised to be suspicious of therapy. Now more and more of them are turning to mental health providers to help them forge a different path.

Meet the Four Havard Law Grads Taking on the Entire Legal System

On a brisk morning in October 2019, a group of students from top U.S. law schools gathered outside the offices of the corporate law firm DLA Piper in Washington, D.C. They handed out leaflets decrying the firm’s mandatory arbitration policy, which had recently stopped a lawyer at the firm from taking her sexual assault claims to court, and called on law students to boycott interviews with the firm until it promised to end mandatory arbitration. The protesters are part of a new legal labor movement hoping to eradicate sexual harassment in the legal profession. They were organized by the People’s Parity Project, a group founded by four women at Harvard Law School with the aim of eliminating mandatory arbitration provisions and ending what they describe as the legal profession itself allowing harassment of and discrimination against workers.

This Multifaith Refuge is Only for Women

The category of religious “nones” in the U.S. has grown steadily over the past few decades, but polls show that “nones” are not necessarily atheists. Some may not agree with the faith traditions they grew up in, but that doesn’t mean they want to fully abandon those practices. Eboni Marshall Turman, who was raised in black Baptist churches, believes many nones might return to traditional spaces if those spaces would update their gender and sexual politics. “We’re still preaching this old, old, old message that really proclaims hopelessness” for those who don’t fit traditional gender norms, says Marshall Turman. “That’s why these churches are emptying out, and people are saying, ‘I’m spiritual but I’m not religious.’” Sacred Space is both a refuge for women who have left their religious traditions and a seminar for those who still hope to change their faith communities from within. No one religion is playing host. Everyone is welcome to bring their own traditions; only sexism, racism, homophobia, and other forms of exclusion are off the table.

The Long Road to Opening South Bend's Abortion Clinic

When Whole Woman’s Health of South Bend, Indiana, saw its first abortion patient on June 27, Amy Hagstrom Miller breathed a sigh of relief. “We have a green light,” she said. “We’ve booked patients. We have physicians scheduled all the way through the end of the summer.” It had been more than four years since Hagstrom Miller, the founder and CEO, first visited the college town to see if it would be a good spot for the clinic. Since then, she and local reproductive rights advocates have faced a steady stream of hurdles, ranging from skittish landlords to lawsuits, protesters, and a stonewalling state health department.

Big Law Pro Bono Takes on ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Restrictions

Within two months of Mississippi adopting one of the nation’s most-restrictive abortion laws, Paul Weiss partner Claudia Hammerman was working with reproductive rights groups to stop it in court. “I jumped at the opportunity to protect the last abortion clinic in Mississippi and support the courageous doctors who fly in from out-of-state to provide abortion care to the women of Mississippi,” the New York-based Paul Weiss partner said. The law approved in March that would prohibit abortion at six weeks, before many women even realize they’re pregnant, was blocked by a federal judge. But Hammerman says the case is far from over. Paul Weiss is one of several Big Law firms that have dedicated pro bono hours to fight a flurry of new abortion laws that opponents say will limit access to reproductive health care. While reproductive rights organizations typically lead on litigation, these lawyers play a key role in getting the work done. They provide resources, expertise, and behind-the-scenes help.

In Anti-Choice Hands, Abortion Clinic Inspections Become a Weapon

In about two dozen states, abortion clinics need facility licenses. And as part of that licensing requirement, inspectors from the department of health can visit clinics at any time, without notice. The anti-abortion movement has used these inspections, and the resulting reports, as a political tool to target abortion providers with false claims of unsafe practices. Part of an age-old tactic of fear mongering, anti-abortion activists routinely use words like “violation” and “fail” to describe minor deficiencies, making some administrative errors look like gross violations of patient safety.

Sanford Heisler, The Firm Helping Female Lawyers Sue Big Law

When associate Nilab Rahyar Tolton left Jones Day in early 2018, she was still reeling from the effects of what she called implicit and explicit biases against women at the firm. She said male partners commented on her appearance and assigned her secretarial-type work. After two pregnancies, Tolton said leadership paid lip service to the challenges of returning from maternity leave but then criticized her for not working enough, eventually suggesting she exit the firm. “I thought I was going to try to process or find closure for myself or move on,” she said. But several months later, she read a story about former Jones Day partner Wendy Moore, who was suing the firm for gender discrimination. Moore is represented by national plaintiffs’ firm Sanford Heisler Sharp. “It became sort of a question of moral responsibility for me,” Tolton said of her decision to reach out to Sanford Heisler with her own story.

Toxic Masculinity: In the minds of angry men’s rights supporters, it’s feminists who are always to blame

Men’s rights activists have flourished on the internet for well over two decades, but their views no longer inhabit the fringes of American society. Many of their beliefs are now explicitly reflected in the highest political office of the land. For many in the U.S., the 2016 presidential election burst the illusion of women’s perceived equality. Trump’s victory was a slap in the face to those who believed the country had moved past its openly racist and misogynist ways. Other voters saw the election as a defense against feminist excess. In Trump, men’s rights activists found a man who was willing to fight their fight.

The Nuns Are Back on the Bus

We’re in a slick tour bus heading down Interstate 87 towards the sisters’ next stop in Morristown, and we’re pulling out of Kingston, where they held a rally outside the offices of Republican Congressman John J. Faso. The bus is basically a giant, rolling billboard. Across the side it bears the words “Tax Justice Truth Tour.” On the back, a message from Pope Francis: “A good Catholic meddles in politics.” The “Nuns on the Bus” tour was created by Sister Simone Campbell, a lawyer, lobbyist, and Sister of Social Service. Campbell is the executive director of NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, a lobby group founded in 1971 by a group of Catholic nuns in response to the Vatican II reforms. It’s her sixth time out in the tour bus; the first tour, in the summer of 2012, was launched to challenge Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. This year, the trip is a rebuke of the Republican tax bill of 2017. The nuns advocate for “reasonable revenue for responsible programs,” which means taxing top earners at a higher rate and spending the money on safety-net programs, accessible health care, and public infrastructure rather than the military. The money is there, the nuns believe; we’re just spending it in the wrong place.

Wanna Save Roe v. Wade? Don't Look To The Courts

With the political balance of the Supreme Court now in the hands of anti-choice conservatives, reproductive rights advocates across the United States are bracing for a future without Roe v. Wade. But what if there were another way to protect abortion rights, this time in the Constitution? The Equal Rights Amendment, which would prohibit sex discrimination the way the Constitution currently prohibits discrimination based on race, religion and national origin, could do just that. The ERA would provide the framework for an equality argument: Women’s equality necessarily requires reproductive and bodily autonomy, and without control over our bodies, women cannot participate as full and equal citizens in this country. But ERA advocates are torn between conflicting strategies when it comes to linking the amendment to abortion rights.

Crisis pregnancy centers aren’t the only ones putting limitations on women’s reproductive care

All over the country, crisis pregnancy centers openly lie to patients about what services they offer, often preventing women from making fully informed decisions about their reproductive health. But they’re not the only health-care providers withholding information in this way. Catholic hospitals and affiliated doctors’ offices have long had religious limitations on the reproductive health care they offer — and their patients may have no idea.

Christian Ethicist Says to Trust Women on Abortion

According to Christian ethicist Rebecca Todd Peters, women are continually asked to justify their abortions in response to a default assumption that abortion is morally wrong. This assumption is incorrect, she argues in her new book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice, and it stems from a particular theological framework that values motherhood over the needs, decisions, and desires of individual women. For Peters, the moral status of a fetus is an ethical and theological question that should be asked and answered by women themselves, not by legislators or judges. Her Christian ethic for abortion is not built on Scripture, but rather “a feminist theological perspective that affirms both the goodness and justice of God.” In other words, she’s not interested in telling us what God wants, other than to say that God wants justice, which means moral agency for women.

When Women Veterans Become the Unseen Victims of PTSD

In 2005, Elana Duffy was an Army interrogator deployed to Iraq when her vehicle was hit by an IED. Duffy was knocked out and bled briefly from her ears. She didn’t feel she was badly injured though, and continued on with her mission. “I didn’t want to get pulled off the road,” she tells Playboy. “My job was my job, I wanted to keep on doing it.” When she started experiencing symptoms like bad headaches, Duffy hid them: “I covered up for as long as I possibly could.” Part of the reason she kept quiet, she said, was the fact that she is a woman. Standing at 5’4” and weighing just over 100 pounds, Duffy had worked hard to gain the respect of the infantrymen she served with. “It took initial weeks or months to prove myself to every platoon out there,” she says. Duffy may be part of a small group of women who have received a Purple Heart, but her experience as a female military service member is quite common. The Service Women's Action Network recently convened a set of focus groups to ask women veterans and service members about their mental health experiences. Nearly all of the groups said they had developed resilience while in the military. But when they dug deeper, the women came to agree it was “fake resilience” that didn’t contribute to their mental well-being.

A Christian Argument for Abortion: A Q&A With Rebecca Todd Peters

Abortion is a moral issue, just not in the way we’ve been taught, argues Rebecca Todd Peters, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church and professor of religious studies at Elon University. She is also the author of the new book Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice. Rather than an abstract moral question, she argues, abortion is a morally valid option to a concrete question women face on a regular basis: “What should I do when faced with an unplanned, unwanted, or medically compromised pregnancy?” I recently spoke with Peters about the book and her vision for the role of progressive, feminist Christian theology in contemporary abortion debates.

The Rise of Male Supremacist Groups

Male supremacy is also too often chalked up to the acts of individuals, when these dangerous ideologies, which have not only tolerated but encouraged violence, stem from gender and culture norms that affect everyone. “One of the things that happens when we focus on extreme examples of hate groups online is that we forget the hate groups are just examples of hate that exists broadly,” said Adrienne Shaw, an assistant professor in Temple University whose research focuses on gender and online culture. “When we just point at them and say those groups are bad, we forget that those groups came out of the same society we’re critiquing them from.”

‘Continuum Of Harm’: The Military Has Been Fighting Sexual Assault In Its Ranks For Decades, But Women Say It’s Still Happening

As the military faces scrutiny over sexual assault in its ranks, less attention has been focused on the wide array of behaviors that reinforce a culture in which assault is allowed to occur. The Department of Defense has identified a number of factors that contribute to a “continuum of harm” in which a profusion of seemingly lesser offenses such as sexist jokes and bullying create an environment in which assault not only takes place but is tolerated. These include high levels of workplace hostility, the underrepresentation of females in the workplace, and “an unhealthy enlisted and officer climate with respect to sexual assault.”

How Religious Health Care Hurts Women of Color

According to new research by the Columbia Law School Public Rights/Private Conscience Project, women of color are even more likely to be treated at Catholic hospitals where religious doctrines dictate medical practices. It’s not news that women of color—and black women in particular—face greater barriers to health care across a wide range of services. This so-called health care gap stems from a number of factors, including economic inequality and structural discrimination, which often work in tandem. The impact of Catholic ethics restrictions on women of color should be examined alongside these trends.

How to End the Silence Around Sexual-Harassment Settlements

When the news of Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual predation broke in early October, part of what was so shocking was that many of the women harassed by Weinstein had privately come forward with their claims, only to be paid off by his company in exchange for their silence. To address the harms that confidentiality requirements impose, lawmakers in a handful of states have floated bills to bar nondisclosure provisions in employment contracts and in settlements relating to claims of discrimination, retaliation, and harassment. But some advocates warn that barring confidentiality provisions may hurt victims in the process.

#MeToo Movement Brings Busy Times for Labor Lawyers

What began in October with reports about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged serial sexual predation has sparked a viral engagement with the #metoo social media movement, a national conversation about sexual misconduct, and a wave of high-profile workplace sexual harassment allegations in entertainment, media and politics that shows no sign of letting up. On Monday, Ninth Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski announced via his lawyers at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart that he will retire immediately following allegations of sexual misconduct from more than a dozen women. The cultural phenomenon has created work for lawyers, from creating new internal policies at corporations, to advising them on upcoming legislation that could fundamentally change how sexual harassment allegations are settled.
Load More Articles